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Why B2B storytelling matters and how to do it well

by Olivia Bohn

August 18, 2021

Humans love stories. From ancient times to the modern day, they’ve been used to capture readers’ imaginations. Brand storytelling is no different, with businesses using narratives to share company values in a way that connects with customers on a more emotional level.

Brand storytelling is part and parcel of any good B2C content marketing strategy. So why don’t we come across it as often in the B2B space? Well, broadly speaking, it’s trickier to emotionally engage customers when you’re selling them a complex business solution than a whizzy consumer product.

While storytelling may feel harder to nail in the B2B space, it can be just as effective when done right. In fact, 50% of B2B buyers are more likely to part with their money if they feel an emotional connection to a brand (https://www.b2bmarketing.net/en-gb/resources/blog/b2b-decision-making-getting-very-emotional). Letting customers see the more personal side of your business helps:

  • Foster authenticity
  • Differentiate your business
  • Boost brand awareness
  • Build better customer relationships
  • Highlight your unique selling point

The list does go on. Now you can see the importance of good B2B brand storytelling, here are a handful of tips on how to do it well.

1. Shine the spotlight on your customers

Potential customers are more likely to believe what current customers say about your product than what your business says about it. Case studies, testimonials and reviews are great for sprinkling a little more story onto your selling. Bringing your product or service to life with client stories will show your audience why they need your solution.

Great examples:

Google's Small Business YouTube channel
Lloyd Bank's 'Lockdown Learnings' campaign

2. Search for the stories

Maybe you’re a startup at the beginning of your storytelling journey, which means you might not have a whole lot of testimonials or case studies to draw upon. Worry not. A way around this is by asking your employees to tell your B2B brand story, which helps humanise your business and make it easier for customers to connect with.

For startups, the stories behind why and how a business was founded can also provide intriguing and authentic narratives to draw from – think Jeff Bezos starting Amazon in his garage.

3. Create some drama

Every good story is made up of a hero or heroine, a problem and a goal. If your protagonist achieves their goal without coming across the problem (the conflict), there’s no story to tell. Your job is to present this conflict (business challenge) in a way your audience can relate to and empathise with, building a critical human connection.

4. Channel the power of visualisation

They say that a picture’s worth a thousand words, and it’s true. People are more receptive to visuals, so if you’re telling a customer story, it makes sense to use imagery of that customer. General Electric does a brilliant job of this in its Instagram feed, using fascinating photos and videos to make technical topics more relatable.

Great example:
General Electric's Instagram feed

5. Ground your stories in data

Using data in your storytelling helps you take a more strategic approach to content creation and helps ground your stories in reality. If you leverage it effectively, it can help you find out the questions your audience are asking and identify their pain points. Doing this will elevate your marketing from a sales pitch to a strong relationship builder.

These five gems are a mere flavour of the advice out there. It’s important to realise there’s no right way to tell your B2B brand story. But, giving it some real thought, has the power to set your business apart as the content landscape becomes ever more competitive.

When will you start to pen yours?

Feature image by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

Tags

B2B
B2B Marketing
Story Telling
storytelling
B2B branding
Branding
B2B Content
Content
data led content